Interview with Dominic Cergnul centralized BDC Manager at Boch Automotive

Interview With Dominic Cergnul

This Zoom video call is a discussion between Todd Smith from 360Converge and Dominic Cergnul who is the centralized BDC Manager at Boch Automotive. This was a call with a lot of insight about getting through COVID-19 from a dealership operations perspective. We discuss how he leverages video in his initial response to triage his sales leads and how he is putting all his BDC experience to work to get through this difficult time. We also talk about the importance of people and processes not just Digital Retailing technology as the best practice for creating a post-pandemic sales system. Don’t miss these insights to help your dealership navigate these difficult times.

Video Transcript

Captions
00:00
hey Todd Smith here a CEO of 360 Kimber
00:04
joined up by Dominic and let me give a
00:07
brief little background I let dominic
00:10
introduce himself a little bit more
00:11
thoroughly but Dominic had posted that
00:15
he was really taking on all almost all
00:17
the internet leads from his store a few
00:21
weeks ago as kovat hit and staff had
00:24
been cut and you put up some pretty
00:26
impressive numbers I think the results
00:28
were about 80 or so sales by himself and
00:31
it got me really thinking of the new
00:34
normal will we come back with the same
00:36
amount of staff will we be able to sell
00:39
more cars per person through new
00:42
efficiencies and stuff so I wanted to
00:44
get dominic on a call today and spend
00:48
some time with us and learn a little bit
00:49
about what he’s doing and with that
00:52
Dominic give us a full introduction of
00:54
you yeah so I’m the BBC director
00:59
centralized BBC director for five of the
01:02
stores in the back Auto Group
01:03
it’s the DCD automotive Holdings group
01:06
and just you know I’ve been with these
01:10
stores these specific stores I’ve had
01:12
for about seven months now and you know
01:16
it’s usually a team of 18 people and
01:18
when everything’s shut down not only did
01:22
we furlough my entire staff but they
01:26
actually furloughed the BDC styles of
01:27
all the other stores the other four
01:29
stores in the group and so I was the
01:32
only BBC person for nine stores which
01:34
are typically responsible for 2000 at
01:37
2,500 car sales a month and so lead
01:42
count wise we’re talking five to six
01:46
thousand leads a month normally and we
01:48
were down to a lot less than that
01:51
but even even even with how much it
01:55
dropped for one person it was a lot yeah
01:57
I can imagine that’s us I remember like
02:00
time that goes on and off so tell me
02:03
love about that so you obviously saw the
02:05
traffic drop I think everybody agrees
02:07
that was kind of universal but you know
02:10
here throw us into what you did I mean
02:13
you
02:13
from a pretty large staff for a BDC
02:16
centralized VDC plus some additional
02:18
staff inside stores to help even more
02:22
right for probably product presentation
02:25
delivery things like that so walk me
02:28
through that like what was the go-to did
02:30
you change messaging in the CRM did you
02:32
turn off all the auto responses like how
02:35
did you kind of go oh my gosh we’re
02:38
still got to respond and now tons of
02:40
leads what was the dynamic change is
02:43
there so so there we we sort of we
02:48
tackled it pretty quick with
02:50
understanding that there was going to
02:51
have to be some pretty significant
02:52
differences and being able to handle
02:54
that quantity because we we were very
02:56
unsure about how serious the customer
02:58
base was going to be at that time and
03:00
exactly how much work it was going to
03:01
take in order to produce something okay
03:05
so we at first we shut down most of the
03:11
automated emails and most of the the
03:17
process the user generated processes
03:19
because we recognized that our first
03:21
goal was just going to be to respond to
03:23
fresh leads make sure there was a
03:24
response and go from there so we use
03:27
drive centric CRM and it has we we
03:31
subscribe to the genius AI and so we
03:34
left that in place and a lot of the
03:36
first responses at least the you know it
03:39
does emailing and texting pretty well so
03:41
that it handled that side of things even
03:45
with that you know depending on how much
03:46
time I had how many leads were sitting
03:48
there I’d still try to tackle you know
03:52
setting I first and foremost I would
03:54
always make a call I would try to I
03:58
usually skip texting because it’s an
04:00
opt-in CRM so you don’t want to double
04:03
opt-in too fast we would I’d still I’d
04:07
sent a personalized video email right
04:09
and then I type up an email you know if
04:11
there was a quote involved or anything
04:12
that effect make sure otherwise it was
04:15
just my to go twos or the call in the
04:17
video the typed up you know was it was
04:19
just if I was sending them information
04:20
about a used car or if I was sending
04:23
them pricing information other than that
04:25
he just skip and get to the next thing
04:26
I
04:27
to some interesting sub video waiting
04:29
with video so normal I’ve done
04:34
personalized video a lot because drive
04:36
centric is very very conducive to that
04:38
but right I I changed the message a lot
04:43
because instead of just an introduction
04:44
talking about some lies in explaining
04:47
pricing it sort of shifted I still did
04:50
some of that but a lot of it was about I
04:52
wanted to sort of explain the way the
04:56
process works the customers first okay
04:58
and tell them essentially so so my
05:02
process with the video is basically
05:03
telling them introducing myself telling
05:06
them how the process works then giving
05:07
them you know any pricing and
05:09
information questions answered that they
05:10
would normally ask I found very quickly
05:14
that describing the process and how
05:18
things work right now to them sort of
05:20
change the direction of the conversation
05:22
so that they understood the way where
05:24
things were going and they had the right
05:25
mindset when we started talking because
05:28
I saw at first especially a lot of
05:31
customers that just expected us to have
05:33
enormous discounts and just trying to
05:36
give our cars away because you can’t you
05:39
can’t sell a car right now and it’s sort
05:41
of if you tell them you know we’re
05:43
mostly closed the government shut us
05:45
down but we still the ability to sell it
05:46
to a central business and you help
05:49
people buy cars it’s just we’re working
05:51
by appointment only right now and we’re
05:53
giving people everything upfront so you
05:54
don’t have to waste your time coming to
05:56
the dealership and risk things if we can
05:58
get you everything in advance so that
05:59
way you’re just coming when you’re ready
06:01
and sort of setting them up that way
06:04
instead of having that conversation
06:06
where they expect you to just give
06:08
everything way off right off the bat you
06:10
sort of I really I felt like they just
06:13
they came from an understanding
06:14
viewpoint more and they sort of at least
06:18
you know a lot more cases than they
06:20
would just you know the conversation
06:21
goes in the direction of what do I need
06:23
to give you so that you’re ready instead
06:25
of how much am i knocking off this car
06:28
in order to convince you to consider me
06:30
like right so to me I hear what you’re
06:33
saying and I saw be super clear and so
06:36
it was more of AI used the video to set
06:39
up the process
06:41
experience so you’re setting the
06:43
customer expectation the value prop
06:46
everything right up front verse jumping
06:49
into let me get you that price quote on
06:52
that car which a lot of times I feel
06:55
like most a lot I’ve seen Internet
06:57
responses they go right to it like
07:00
customer says I want a price on a on a
07:02
Mazda 6 right and instantly it comes
07:06
back well here’s the price quote on a
07:08
Mazda 6 and it it at that point it looks
07:11
very transactional and what you lose
07:14
control of the customer and the
07:15
experience obviously I think if I buy so
07:18
many managers are like just get him in
07:20
just get him in the door you know much
07:23
just get him in so you used video to
07:27
kind of set up the experience and then
07:31
you felt like it was in most cases of a
07:33
more palatable communication with the
07:37
customers that were seriously interested
07:40
so what what percentage of the customers
07:43
you think were just those owed car
07:45
dealers must be desperate so I’m
07:47
opportunistically going to try to get a
07:49
car verse you know how many were really
07:52
kind of in the market it was era was it
07:55
a lot of customers that hit you guys up
07:57
that we’re really like oh they’re gonna
07:59
go out of business so well we’ll get a
08:01
car I think that that’s the loud
08:03
minority they I think it was a small
08:07
percentage of people that were expecting
08:08
us just to give things away but they
08:11
were very very persistent and and still
08:14
are and they just it’s it was it was
08:19
surprising to me how many people that we
08:20
did yet that were that way but I would
08:22
still say the percentage was low
08:24
they just were very very loud okay
08:28
what’s interesting to know you know well
08:31
look everyone wants a deal on a car
08:33
because I feel a lot of people even when
08:35
they they actually get a deal they don’t
08:37
believe they got a deal because there
08:38
are some cousins brothers nephews you
08:41
know second cousin who got a better deal
08:44
somewhere else right come on that seems
08:46
to be about that so okay so you went
08:49
down to you really you are doing all the
08:52
responses your
08:53
you’re sending a video I assume that’s a
08:56
personalized video that you would do
08:58
okay so so you had to generate that
09:00
video did you include the car into it or
09:03
was just just a you kind of selling you
09:06
in the process first so I the beginning
09:09
of the video is setting up the process
09:11
but I would still I’m still gonna give
09:13
them if they requested information or
09:15
pricing I still going to answer those
09:16
questions I just want to make sure that
09:18
understanding the process is out of the
09:20
way first guys that there in the right
09:22
frame of mind when we start talking
09:24
about everything else so least the price
09:26
quote there’s someone get the details
09:28
pretty quick
09:29
it’s just they I wanted to set the tone
09:32
before I started off anything else okay
09:35
so you set the tone with the the video
09:38
send that off to them then I mean what
09:42
was the what was the outcome of this I
09:44
mean I assume video gets a pretty good
09:47
response rate overall compared to
09:49
sending an email or even calling and
09:52
leaving a voicemail I felt like you know
09:55
video shows you character shows and if
09:58
you’re answering the question in the
10:00
email or in the video that’s got to be
10:02
powerful too so it was like how many
10:05
leads did you go through let’s say what
10:07
March or April April is probably a good
10:09
solid month right right so and the time
10:13
that I was mostly long so we pretty
10:17
quickly because we realized the lead
10:19
count didn’t drop as fast as we thought
10:20
we started calling people back for you
10:24
know short shifts and things so we had
10:25
okay an average day probably three
10:28
people on staff after the first week
10:30
finding two leads other than other than
10:33
the GM’s themselves and the stores were
10:35
also responding to leads when they could
10:38
but do you so in that time I worked six
10:44
hundred leads personally and that was I
10:50
mean it’s just it’s so many leads
10:53
especially because like the contact rate
10:56
was high the number of people we talked
10:58
to outside of the third party leads that
11:01
just weren’t generating that much that
11:03
you know shopping you pretty much
11:05
talking to just about everybody right
11:07
and the response rate was very very high
11:10
and just trying to shift through just
11:13
getting through the responses why it
11:14
winds up when you have 600 leaves that
11:16
you’re reaching out to you know that
11:18
gets turns into a time-consuming thing
11:20
and you can’t be that fast with it
11:22
because you’re you know having you know
11:26
when you take up to 80 leads in a single
11:30
day and you’re getting responses from
11:32
over half of them and so you have to
11:35
deal with the replies from that and it’s
11:37
not just one it’s not just one time in a
11:39
day you know you’re still replying from
11:40
people from before and here and there so
11:43
a lot of the time you know you
11:45
priorities start shifting as the day
11:47
goes on normally you’re geared to just
11:49
get to know the fresh leads done fast
11:52
you respond straight and fresh leads has
11:53
to be your top priority get to those
11:55
people and get through it but when you
11:58
have the number of replies that you have
11:59
there and you just never are finishing
12:01
the fresh leaves or the day you realize
12:03
you’re walking over a dollar to pick up
12:04
dimes when you’re hitting all the fresh
12:06
leads first yeah and so for me I had to
12:09
switch gears to hitting the replies
12:13
first and then get back to the fresh
12:16
leads cuz they’re gonna be sitting there
12:17
for hours no matter what I do and
12:20
essentially just had to hit all the
12:23
replies as much as I can because you
12:25
know then you’re actually generating the
12:26
complete send to the appointment or the
12:29
sale from that point instead of just
12:31
always dealing with fresh stuff and
12:33
never finishing anything so what walk me
12:35
through the process then initial video
12:39
goes I assume that you sent it via email
12:42
yeah and they respond I would assume the
12:46
channels mostly still email but maybe
12:49
some customers call at that point you
12:50
know you know following so what happens
12:54
next I mean did you try to move them to
12:56
text or something you could have better
12:57
control of or did you try to really just
12:59
live and die between the email and phone
13:02
so I would you know it would just it
13:07
just depends I usually like to stick to
13:09
whatever channel the customer seems to
13:10
prefer and just do it that way but if
13:14
they opt into texting I’m gonna do
13:16
texting you know if they if they are
13:18
response to the calls I still want to do
13:20
calls but
13:21
a lot of times I would prefer the
13:23
texting in the email because it’s faster
13:25
for me to just send something off and to
13:27
have an entire conversation while
13:28
there’s chat chats that are starting up
13:31
and we’re mean at that time you know
13:33
usually I’d have at least two chats
13:35
going and you know up til I’ve had up to
13:37
twelve at one time where you’re trying
13:39
to respond the customers and it’s just
13:41
overwhelming but yeah answering the
13:44
calls that are all asking why the
13:46
service department is an answering
13:47
problem and just you know between all
13:49
that stuff it’s very very difficult to
13:50
be on the phone that much if you’re
13:52
trying to be effective with everything
13:54
yeah well I wouldn’t lean towards the
13:56
texting and the emails more than the
13:58
phone calls even at that point yeah I
14:00
feel like you just just went through a
14:01
really good like triaging time right
14:03
yeah and I triage is massive amount of
14:07
like customer influx because you know
14:11
everyone’s like Oh business is gonna dry
14:13
up but I’ll I’ve talked to a lot of
14:15
people it really didn’t you know there
14:18
was still always a need there for cars
14:21
now of course it diminished in some
14:23
markets more than others
14:25
but that being said you know my interest
14:29
with you really today is that triaging
14:30
like how do you get through you know
14:33
leads because one thing I don’t think
14:36
you have like the pure answer to but
14:39
it’s definitely a good lesson is you
14:42
took on a lot more leads and then I mean
14:47
look a verge deal or you’re gonna give
14:49
each sales how many reps are how many
14:51
leads you give for at normally so well
14:54
the goal is two hundred and thirty
14:56
that’s that’s about our target okay two
14:59
hundred thirty and I mean that’s a lot
15:02
I’ve seen guys more than to the hundreds
15:04
right how are you know eighty two I’m
15:07
110 120 so you’re on a high end of that
15:10
in the beat in your VDC so interesting
15:13
enough like efficiency how did you you
15:15
know I’m curious like how what were your
15:18
efficiency models to get through this
15:21
mass volume and will you apply these
15:23
things moving forward that your reps
15:27
take even more leads right than what
15:29
they were taking before because I think
15:31
the
15:33
the underpinning thing I hear right now
15:35
is people are bringing people back but
15:38
not everybody back and we’re gonna try
15:41
to do more with less and that seems to
15:44
be the more reoccurring theme I’m
15:46
hearing now and I’m curious to you what
15:48
your thoughts are there and are you
15:51
changing your processes to absorb more
15:54
so we haven’t made any final
15:59
determinations with things like that but
16:01
definitely you know I think that it
16:05
becomes obvious that you you can do more
16:07
but
16:09
I think that we have to be careful with
16:12
that thought process in a little way
16:13
because it’s sort of all of us at that
16:16
time we’re looking at it as a temporary
16:17
thing and so we understand we’re all
16:19
going into overdrive and we’re putting
16:21
in significantly more efforts and it was
16:23
I mean it’s exhausting to go through
16:25
that and – for me I don’t want to have
16:30
the expectation for my rap’s to suddenly
16:32
take you know the upper take 300-400
16:35
leads in a month and to have some
16:37
expectation that they’re going to
16:38
produce correctly with that now because
16:40
the level of effort that it takes in
16:42
order to do that is gonna be so high
16:45
that I think it’s just gonna burn them
16:47
out okay so I I think that we see that
16:51
it is possible to handle it with that
16:53
but I think we also have to recognize
16:55
that everyone went into it with that
16:58
mindset that this is temporary we need
17:00
your help
17:00
you guys are team players let’s let’s do
17:03
what we can with what we have so the
17:04
dealership survived and I think that we
17:09
may have been more prepared than the
17:11
average because we were already using
17:14
some AI to help us I really do think
17:16
that the genius AI helped me move
17:19
through that stuff a lot better because
17:21
I’d already have a lot of replies
17:23
waiting when we came in in the morning
17:24
for the fresh leads that came through so
17:27
there’s a lot of people out there in
17:28
texting there’s a lot of people that
17:30
have asked for their questions and their
17:31
emails you know so on with things like
17:34
that so it certainly it helps sift
17:36
through and start the engagement process
17:38
and I think that leaning on that a
17:41
little bit is something that you know
17:43
maybe we can do a little bit less
17:45
applying in the beginning and let it do
17:47
its work but real you know in cases
17:49
where already has something generated
17:51
but overall I don’t think anything beats
17:54
the quality of a fully engaged and fully
17:59
full effort put in response right and I
18:03
you know engagement the response time is
18:06
still effective if if everyone is in the
18:10
same boat because they think the reason
18:11
why we could get away with taking so
18:13
much time to reply to customers is
18:15
because a lot of dealerships in
18:17
Massachusetts especially just are
18:18
entirely closed and the ones that aren’t
18:21
are sort of in the same ball
18:22
so they are also taking that time so I
18:25
think it’ll almost be like that arms
18:28
race again that goes back to how fast
18:30
can you start replying and as people
18:31
grow and the faster people reply or
18:33
again gonna have that advantage so the
18:35
owners get forced into having less leads
18:37
per person in order to be able to do
18:39
that again yeah well speeds always
18:41
important I mean we’ve we realized that
18:44
right I think a lot of times though we
18:46
equate speed and quality there’s always
18:49
a trade-off there right so you know I as
18:53
you got back to him fast but if you
18:54
didn’t answer their questions it’s kind
18:56
of a deflated experience so yep you have
18:59
it always something to keep in mind as
19:03
already got process now have did you you
19:06
have a digital retailing uh at set up or
19:09
no or so when things started we we
19:14
didn’t but it was within a matter of a
19:17
week that we got something set up we
19:19
have a programming company that our
19:23
parent company has a good relationship
19:25
with called yoga cars and they
19:27
essentially built one for us pretty much
19:29
on the fly and so that got put in place
19:35
pretty quick and you know it’s been I
19:40
think that it helped a lot because a lot
19:43
of people engaged with it off off the
19:45
bat to start things off and so we
19:47
started that whole process of bringing
19:48
cars to people and just being able to
19:51
shop from home and so people started I
19:54
think it’s still the same thing as
19:56
before because I saw a lot when we did
19:58
have digital retailing opportunities
19:59
whether it’s shot click Drive or
20:01
otherwise or nobody really finishes the
20:03
process that way they never pay through
20:05
it or anything along those lines but
20:07
they get enough done that they decided
20:09
they wanted they know this is what they
20:11
want to do and it helps you you’re
20:14
starting a conversation in the middle
20:15
instead of the beginning with the
20:16
customer so that they’re further along
20:18
the process and it helps you cut out
20:21
sort of that initial part and get them
20:23
to a more complete position where you’re
20:26
ready to actually do something right it
20:28
I think it’s tough when a BDC reps or
20:31
internet reps spend time when customers
20:34
haven’t even like select
20:36
the vehicle yet you know gnarly I’m
20:38
still thinking about this or I don’t
20:41
know there between a Tahoe and a
20:42
suburban yet or I like go down even
20:45
lower the Traverse or something like I
20:47
feel like when they’re NAT fees it’s not
20:51
really good use of a person’s time and
20:54
that’s where it all right visual
20:55
retailing can help a lot because it
20:57
allows you to compare cars side-by-side
20:59
it allows you to kind of go through your
21:02
own self exploration I think and
21:05
identify what is going to happen but you
21:09
know like anything then there’s gonna be
21:10
additional questions and that’s when I
21:12
think a BDC can play a bigger role that
21:15
I kind of look at it as you know we
21:16
don’t really do anything for like a a
21:18
market qualified lead right we just take
21:21
all leads in attack them all the same
21:23
and hope for the best first putting them
21:27
through like some gates right to say
21:29
yeah let’s get them to here get them to
21:31
there so um so your process over this
21:34
bit of time has really been we’re gonna
21:36
respond use a I personal video then
21:41
we’re gonna come in and then do all the
21:43
cleanup follow-up which we would
21:44
normally do response back and forth
21:47
did you notice or were there any changes
21:51
in length of time it was taking did you
21:54
see from okay you know they’ve responded
21:57
to the video and now we’ve gone through
21:59
the process to you know close a Elite so
22:04
on average I would say transactions
22:06
happen a lot faster there were people
22:08
that had to take some follow up and some
22:10
doing but part of it was I think it has
22:13
I could be wrong but I think more of it
22:16
has to do with the fact that we were not
22:18
continuing to reach out to customers
22:19
after the fact because there was just no
22:23
because we only had time to respond to
22:26
the actual replies and the fresh leads
22:28
we spent almost no time actually
22:31
following up with any customers that had
22:33
come in days prior you know just trying
22:36
to reach out to them again so okay I I
22:38
think I really think you can do that hey
22:42
I’m gonna send you nine emails and for
22:44
phone calls so you just abandoned and
22:47
said if you wanted we’re here so
22:50
and so genius again still sort of
22:52
reaches out after some time but genius
22:55
waits a while after you stop reaching
22:57
out once they’ve replied and once you’re
22:59
engaged with them it takes a long time
23:01
for it to start engaging again so you
23:03
know we’d see some stuff maybe a week
23:04
two weeks afterward maybe they’d come
23:06
back they’d reply to the automated
23:08
system but yeah I mean it was just
23:12
basically it’s like catch and release
23:14
it’s like you know you’re fishing for
23:17
something they don’t bite alright next
23:19
fish I’m not gonna try for you anymore
23:21
like well that it’s kind of like you did
23:23
a quasi like triage market qualified
23:26
lead they’re either they’re qualified
23:28
because of their engagement or they’re
23:30
not and I’m not going to force it
23:33
because you had enough leads coming in
23:35
with the limited staff that you just had
23:37
the process right write it and make it
23:41
happen okay so you said you took it like
23:44
600 leads so what was the breakdown of
23:46
that so 600 leads came in what came out
23:50
the back right so a hundred of those
23:53
were phone ups and the other 600 were
23:56
internet leads there’s actually there
23:58
was more than 600 total you counted we
24:02
get we also are an auto trader buying
24:04
center we cancel the service but they
24:07
continue to send that I’m certain
24:09
because they just don’t have anywhere
24:11
else and they need somebody to be there
24:12
customer service right but so the I
24:15
probably took a hundred to two hundred
24:18
or those two but we just had a templated
24:21
message we’d send them about we’re not
24:22
buying cars right now like or just
24:24
essentially kvb isn’t backing this so
24:27
please reach out once the shutdown is
24:29
over this is essentially the message for
24:31
those but of the of the stuff that we
24:34
the actual car specific leads that we
24:38
were working on and generating stuff
24:41
from from that 600 looking back at I
24:46
think it was a hundred and seventy
24:52
appointments with a hundred and fifty
24:56
shown and eighty sales okay and it was
25:04
honestly I was very surprised on average
25:09
when you looked at so the total group I
25:12
think the actual shown to close ratio
25:15
was somewhere close to a third which I
25:19
was always I’m very very surprised that
25:21
I thought essentially especially in the
25:25
beginning I thought that there’s no way
25:27
people are gonna come out unless they’re
25:29
ready to buy a car it shut down
25:31
everything there’s no reason why these
25:33
people are gonna risk it but I’ve also
25:35
seen statistics since that Massachusetts
25:38
is doing the worst job at following the
25:40
guidelines of shut down horrible and so
25:43
that it’s not surprising to me after the
25:46
fact but the number of people that would
25:48
come and just want to drive cars or just
25:50
sort of check stuff out really really
25:51
surprised me
25:53
I think the 80 out of 150 was actually
25:56
that was a lot higher than what the
25:59
average was for people coming in and
26:01
buying so I don’t know what caused it
26:03
but it was very odd yeah that’s
26:06
interesting right like what why people
26:10
think it’s worth the risk but they
26:12
they’re doing it they want to just check
26:13
out cars we’d have a lot of people that
26:16
would even I had one customer
26:17
specifically that made it because I had
26:20
access to all the stores I knew she was
26:22
making appointments at many stores she
26:24
called her Nissan store and she wanted
26:26
to drive for different Nissan SUVs to
26:29
compare them and then once she drove all
26:31
the cars from all the different
26:33
manufacturers she’s gonna side what you
26:34
wanted and bite out Wow see you were
26:37
just like a test drive center right and
26:40
I’m like I’m thinking to myself like
26:42
yeah we we you have to clean them all
26:44
the inner time but it’s weird that
26:48
you’re expecting all these dealerships
26:49
to sanitize this many vehicles for you
26:52
to just test them out you know this is a
26:55
customer she I don’t even want to go in
26:56
the building I don’t want to risk it I
26:57
just want to drive the car so she like
27:00
recognizes the fact that there’s some
27:01
teacher involved is not there for a
27:06
class amazing there’s always going to be
27:11
an anomaly in the world right like doing
27:14
some silly stuff so okay so you
27:16
through you got Lisa Aires City closed
27:19
like 80 of them I assume he probably had
27:23
some trickle additional sales out of the
27:26
ones that were just in the meadow a min
27:28
and you know you know ultimately will
27:31
still close out at some point
27:34
what other I mean what other good
27:37
lessons like have you walked away with
27:39
so far I mean like what sticks out in
27:42
your mind is like a man didn’t know that
27:45
now I know that I can apply it moving
27:48
forward so for me it was it was
27:56
interesting just seeing the way people
27:58
reacted because the one the one big
28:00
thing that did come out of it that I I
28:01
did expect but it was I guess is fully
28:08
but that I really appreciated about the
28:10
customer base is that when it comes to
28:13
show rate not only did we have an 85
28:15
percent show rate throughout but the
28:18
people that didn’t show up or that
28:22
weren’t going to be able to make their
28:23
appointments they were very very
28:25
responsive and they would almost always
28:27
tell us in advance they wouldn’t be able
28:29
to come I think part of that was by
28:32
setting the expectations it was
28:33
something that I sort of learned it by
28:36
accident because I had a store that
28:39
legitimately there was no one in the
28:41
store and they were working from home
28:44
the GM was working from home to make
28:46
appointments they would only go in for
28:47
the appointment so I would have to tell
28:49
the customers I need to coordinate with
28:51
the person that actually goes to the
28:52
store that opens up that’s going to open
28:54
up the dealership sanitize the
28:56
workstation sanitize the car so I just
28:58
need to make sure that you know I
29:00
coordinate with them to set this up so
29:01
does this time this time or this time
29:03
work better for you they pick a time I’d
29:06
go I’d have to call the manager and
29:08
explain to him this is what they picked
29:09
this is what they’re going to do and so
29:11
they would head in and clean it up and
29:13
get it ready and so the customers at
29:15
that point those people all showed up
29:17
and so I started realizing sort of just
29:20
like a I explained to them how this
29:23
works and like people are going to have
29:24
to you know explain what we have to do
29:27
to prepare for them and make sure that
29:29
they
29:29
understand you know we’re mostly not at
29:31
the store we have to arrange for people
29:33
to meet you there and coordinating so
29:35
they sort of by setting that up and and
29:38
sort of doing things that way people
29:39
have been very very responsive to it so
29:41
I think that there’s something there
29:43
even normally and just in helping the
29:46
customer understand the importance of
29:48
the appointment and what the value of it
29:50
is and what’s going into it for them and
29:52
I think that the more we are willing to
29:54
commit to the appointment and the more
29:55
that we tell the customer about it the
29:57
more they’re gonna be apt to show up for
30:01
and I know that all the dealerships
30:03
obviously that prepare cars and tell
30:06
people about it there’s plenty of
30:07
dealerships that have the high show rate
30:08
I just think that you know it’s learning
30:12
that it has so much to do with
30:14
explaining the process to them that was
30:16
a big takeaway for me it’s just helping
30:18
them to understand it really good point
30:21
maybe we take it take for granted a lot
30:25
of times is the thought of we know how
30:28
the whole process works but do we
30:30
explain it very often right we’re we’re
30:33
always just trying to accomplish our
30:36
milestones of hey I made contact with
30:39
the customer I’ve set an appointment you
30:42
know they show up you know I test drive
30:45
a car I sell a car and deliver it and
30:47
you know but explaining that process I
30:50
mean from what I hear you saying today
30:53
there’s a huge value in it and it may be
30:56
something that we’re just not doing very
30:58
well maybe we should you know you
31:00
obviously are setting them up in the
31:02
intro video then you’re coming back and
31:05
again in explaining like hey here is our
31:08
process that that you’re gonna go
31:11
through and I have to you know set
31:13
somebody to the store I have to sanitize
31:15
the workstation so you’re building value
31:17
in and like effort showing effort it’s
31:22
not just oh the cars they’re backed in
31:25
sanitized and ready for yet like there’s
31:28
gonna have to be someone it goes there
31:30
so that obligates the customer a little
31:32
bit more because they see that Oh to get
31:36
what I want that person’s going to have
31:38
to do something so alright that’s
31:40
interesting you think you’ll put more of
31:42
that in your
31:43
this is moving forward then yeah I think
31:46
I’m gonna have to look at just what the
31:47
best way to describe our processes will
31:50
be going forward and just making sure
31:52
that that gets in there I think the
31:54
other key to was wrapping it up with
31:56
after explaining it because you know
31:58
obviously a lot of people are afraid of
32:00
objections they don’t like to ask a lot
32:01
of questions that they don’t want to
32:03
have to answer but you know the asking
32:06
them after that giving them an
32:08
opportunity and saying is there anything
32:09
else I can answer for you or do you have
32:11
any other questions before we lock this
32:13
in so giving them that opportunity then
32:16
to sort of come up with any you know
32:20
sort of giving them an out at that point
32:21
if they’ve just been stringing you along
32:22
and then an opportunity to convince
32:26
reconvince them because really if they
32:28
are stringing you along you I’d
32:30
especially prefer an opportunity to know
32:33
that and have a direct conversation
32:34
right with a customer and then to sooths
32:37
whatever concerns they have instead of
32:39
just done ghost yeah just not showing up
32:44
right that makes a lot of sense so you
32:47
think you will you’ll go back change
32:49
some of your process flow in the CRM or
32:52
just to accommodate some of these days
32:55
or I don’t know that process flows can
32:58
be adjusted by it but certainly the
33:00
process with the communications and
33:03
making sure that we yeah from from our
33:06
standpoint because I think that it’s a
33:09
thing that gets missed a lot of times
33:11
anyway especially with BDC reps
33:13
especially the new ones they’re always
33:14
so determined just to get the
33:16
appointment and to move on in the next
33:18
one that they oftentimes don’t do a
33:20
whole lot after the fact I think that
33:22
half of the appointment comes after
33:25
you’ve already said it and with what you
33:26
do to firm it up after the fact and just
33:29
the conversation there and I think that
33:30
that conversation needs to become even
33:32
more in-depth well I think that’s where
33:34
the biggest changes come okay so that
33:37
you’re saying is hey I set the
33:39
appointment but now you’ll come back
33:41
with here’s the experience you’re about
33:44
to go through and you know it’s
33:47
safeguards we take do you have any other
33:50
questions so your final smoke them out
33:54
to make sure that you know nothing is
33:56
gonna go side
33:57
right that’s probably that area you’re
34:00
gonna try to tune up the most in what
34:04
your players yeah okay that makes sense
34:06
so it’s really fascinating I I finally
34:09
right now it’s this great new learning
34:11
time you know of Co
34:13
how to improve because you have to and
34:16
you’re having to make adjustments to
34:19
process where we hadn’t had to in a
34:21
pretty long time so it’s kind of
34:23
interesting so what else is is there
34:27
anything missing now do you think
34:30
technologically or something that you’re
34:32
gonna have to see you figuring it out
34:35
that you know you didn’t have to figure
34:37
out three months ago so we actually have
34:42
a new so Massachusetts change its rules
34:47
again a few days ago and now we’re not
34:49
allowed to test drive cars at all so we
34:53
can still sell them we just can’t let
34:54
them test drive so now and they stretch
34:58
the they made the rules
34:59
stricter about how we can handle the
35:03
internet appointments that they were
35:04
allowing us to handle before and so
35:06
there’s much much stricter limitations
35:09
to the people that we can have in
35:10
buildings so now we’re having to figure
35:13
out how to do everything actually
35:15
virtually at this point because there’s
35:18
not really an option otherwise so we’re
35:20
we’re sort of tackling it and we’re
35:23
trying to use Google neat to do virtual
35:26
test drives virtual walk arounds and
35:28
just do an entire and what the customer
35:31
presented numbers do everything that way
35:33
and I think that you know
35:38
technologically speaking there’s a lot
35:42
of limitations to what you can really do
35:44
with that and helping people to actually
35:47
experience the vehicle that way it’s
35:49
very difficult and we know that this is
35:51
gonna cause another contraction for us
35:53
just in terms of what we’re going to be
35:54
able to do with it
35:55
but it’s gonna be and so it’s going to
35:59
be difficult but we just have to you
36:02
know
36:03
but that’s gonna be the hard part is
36:04
figuring out exactly how to make that
36:08
side of things work how to really get
36:09
them a feel for the vehicle without ever
36:11
actually driving the vehicle that’s
36:13
something that’s a big challenge I don’t
36:16
know is on that one so that’s definitely
36:18
gonna be Wow that’ll be interesting I
36:22
mean we started implementing and we have
36:25
a buyback program we’ve always done
36:26
seven days for used cars but now we’re
36:28
adding three days for new cars and just
36:31
sort of trying to avoid you know
36:34
problems there but you know that’s that
36:37
has its own issues that you deal with
36:38
there but we’re hopeful that that will
36:42
sate some concerns from people but at
36:45
the same time people still you know you
36:46
it’s still financial commitment and even
36:49
with those types of buybacks you know
36:51
you’re not getting all the money back
36:52
taxes are gone you know things like that
36:54
is just sort of you know it’s it’s
36:56
imperfect and so there’s so plenty of
36:58
concerns for people we just have to
37:00
figure that out yeah I’ll figure it out
37:03
the new processes man that’s it that’s
37:06
it changes I think it’s really tough
37:07
when it’s dynamically changing based on
37:10
what you know Massachusetts says at this
37:13
price that’s got to make it a little bit
37:15
more challenging just like no you can
37:18
only drive backwards for the next four
37:20
days that’s gonna be interesting so have
37:25
you brought more staff back yet or no or
37:29
they’re all there for us the Paycheck
37:32
protection program came through so we
37:34
have the majority of the staff is back
37:37
inactive but there’s a lot of people
37:40
working from home and the staff in the
37:44
dealerships are still limited and
37:45
especially with the limitations of the
37:46
quantity of people now it’s mostly you
37:50
know it makes it so that we almost have
37:52
to do more with the customer or at least
37:54
at a different location than here so
37:57
just paycheck protection has been a big
38:00
help that way it gives us the resources
38:01
now we just have to use them effectively
38:03
so that brings up a point how you how
38:06
are you communicating with your people
38:07
working at home like normally I assume
38:09
you have all your 16 people like in a
38:11
room and right no yeah that’s control
38:14
and now people
38:16
or at home are you just monitoring
38:19
through the CRM or how do you
38:21
communicate with them all day long I
38:23
mean it’s it’s hard when you can’t reach
38:25
over and go yo you know Dominic – what
38:28
you just blew that call I mean right
38:31
how’s that work it’s it’s hard and I
38:34
know the people that are working from
38:36
home their effectiveness is less than
38:39
the people that are in the store and we
38:40
know that it’s not you know it’s not
38:43
going to be perfect it’s not gonna be we
38:47
just have to account for it and I
38:51
communication-wise and we have they can
38:54
access most everything from home our
38:56
company emails through Gmail so they can
39:00
log into that and I do a lot through
39:02
email that way we have texting I just
39:07
have some personal phones and things and
39:09
try to keep in touch that way I can’t I
39:11
can’t really observe them over the phone
39:13
you know all the problem everything that
39:17
I observe is after the fact so you know
39:20
there’s it’s like after the bomb went
39:22
off like we know but yeah there’s no
39:26
it’s not helpful usually after the fact
39:28
you know so do you have a like phone
39:31
recall call recordings or oh but if
39:34
they’re at home you’re not doing any of
39:36
that probably all right right so that’s
39:38
that’s the issue so we do because it’s
39:40
click-to-call through the crm we can
39:42
record their outbound calls inbound
39:46
they’re not they’re not getting anything
39:48
inbound right now so there’s there’s
39:50
nothing there so we do call recording
39:52
wise we are pretty safe we use
39:54
interactive tell so we do have yeah yeah
39:58
so we have it that’s been good for us
40:01
but in Massachusetts you can only record
40:05
the it’s so it’s to party so you we can
40:13
only record our side of the call so we
40:15
don’t hear what the customers saying so
40:16
it’s still not perfect not that you
40:17
would in a room anyway but you can kind
40:19
of get the feel hey let me take care of
40:21
this but so we do solve some recording
40:25
that we can handle it that way but you
40:28
know that
40:30
even right now taking the time to really
40:32
dig through that kind of stuff is not
40:34
the route I guess the guest minutiae
40:37
stuff right like he’s right
40:39
you know like man I don’t have time for
40:41
that this is tackle work I assume at
40:44
this point so you know what is that that
40:46
true block-and-tackle work so do you see
40:49
I mean is lead quantity rising back up
40:53
for you guys right now or see or uptick
40:57
or it’s been steadily increasing since
41:00
the initial drop and it’s it’s high now
41:04
you know I haven’t looked at it in the
41:06
past few days but we’re I mean it’s
41:09
still significantly down I’d say that we
41:11
were probably at depending on which
41:13
store we were looking at the Nene our
41:15
Nissan stores have probably been hit the
41:17
worst and they’re probably at maybe
41:19
thirty percent of what they used to and
41:23
our higher source like our Chevrolet
41:25
store is probably at eighty percent of
41:28
what it used to be yeah and you know it
41:31
sort of it varies in between there but
41:34
you know just it’s all over the place
41:36
yeah I tell Chevy’s GM’s high because
41:39
man they’re throwing out awesome offers
41:41
and zero pretty for it’s no payments no
41:44
three or four months I mean if you’re
41:46
gonna buy one of those cars now’s the
41:48
time to do it Gordo okay that makes a
41:52
lot of sense so what about I mean do you
41:55
have you found like more like lead
41:57
quality is improved in the sense of
41:59
leads you’re getting that they’re more
42:01
filled out because one of the
42:04
interesting things I’ve noticed and lots
42:06
of CRN’s I’ve looked in that you know 40
42:08
percent of the lead data just was
42:10
missing or inaccurate like people put in
42:13
only a first name email address you know
42:17
fake name email yes I mean have you seen
42:20
any higher level of like quality lead
42:24
data or no just kind of the same stuff
42:27
roll and throw
42:27
so at first I would say that definitely
42:31
went up I think that as the lead quality
42:33
has come back
42:34
hardly quantity has come back we’ve sort
42:37
of gone to sort of return to the way it
42:40
used to be so I think that
42:43
you know it’s not as III think that it’s
42:49
sort of weave their quality is all it’s
42:51
still better but it’s returning to the
42:54
way it was because especially when it
42:56
comes to our website leads I would say
43:00
our normal website leads the quality is
43:01
up the digital retailing leads I think
43:05
that because of the way those are
43:08
described it naturally draws people to
43:11
put in more fake information so those I
43:13
think have it more often than a lot of
43:15
our other leads because they see it as a
43:17
shopping tool and they’re trying to go
43:19
through it but when you ask for
43:20
information first and they just I just
43:22
want the information give me put in John
43:25
Smith ya need 675 309 and here’s a
43:30
random email address you know so when
43:35
they start interacting with that you
43:37
know maybe the contact us after the fact
43:39
but just to get to the information
43:42
they’re definitely putting in more
43:44
faking interesting yeah I look that
43:47
every way does that right yeah
43:49
cuz you’re trying to get yourself
43:52
informed it’s like that game right
43:54
you’re trying to get your information
43:56
and not give out your information at the
43:58
same time so it’s like yeah stuff well
44:02
hey man I really appreciate you taking
44:03
the time today it’s been cool it was fun
44:05
to catch up and talk again and see what
44:09
you’re doing and seeing that you know
44:10
you’re still in one piece you’ve got a
44:12
triage version one I like boom now it’s
44:15
triage too you know with some pvp
44:18
funding and a little bit more people
44:20
around yet so maybe we can visit again
44:23
see what it looks like in another month
44:25
to see what you’re up to no I’ll be
44:28
interesting to see how you’re making it
44:30
work man I love these types of calls
44:33
sounds good cool man so hold on one
44:36
second

Join 55,000 of your automotive peers. Subscribe to the automotive technology newsletter.

Every Sunday evening we’ll send you a roundup of the best content and events from 360Converge and around the automotive industry. Make sure you’re ready for the week! Subscribe now.

Subscribe here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *